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Mahara ePortfolio User

Guide

May 2008 For use with Mahara


v.1.0.2
Supported file types
Content types
– Blogs
– External feeds
Contents: – Files, images and Video
– General
Introduction to Mahara
– Profile
Overview
– Resumé
Definitions
Create View Step Three: Access
Contextual help
– Add Public access
Minimum technology requirements
– Add Logged in users access
Registration
– Add Friends access
Logging in
– Add individual users access
Settings
– Add Groups access
Preferences
My Views Summary
Notifications
Edit a View
Activity Preferences
Edit View access
Institution membership
Search for Views
Profile
View feedback
– Edit Profile
– Place feedback
– Profile Icons
– Report objectionable material
– My Resumé
– Print (a View)
– My Goals
– Add View to watch list
– My Skills
Groups
My Portfolio
My Groups
My Files
Group Types
– Upload a File
– Invite Only
– Tags
– Request Membership
– Create a folder
– Open membership
My Blogs
– Controlled Membership
– Create a Blog
Create a Group
– Add a Blog Post
Add a Forum
– Upload a file
Add a topic
– Add a file from My Files
Add users
– Embed an image
Find Groups
– View Blog
– Join a Group
– Blog comments
My Friends
My Views
Find Friends
– Create a View
Search Mahara users
– Create View Step One: Details
Search My Portfolio
– Create View Step Two: Layout

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For updates and new features visit the Mahara wiki at http://mahara.org/wiki

Introduction to Mahara
Established in 2006, the Mahara project started as collaborative venture
funded by New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission's e-learning
Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF), involving Massey University,
Auckland University of Technology, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand,
and Victoria University of Wellington.
Continued development has been made possible by further support from
New Zealand’s Ministry of Education and the application of Mellon
Foundation funds from the Open Polytechnic’s winning a 2007 Mellon
Award for Technology Collaboration.
Since July 2007, Richard Wyles from Flexible Learning Network has guided
the development of Mahara with open source software specialists –
Catalyst IT as the maintainers of the core code.
A first guiding principle with the development of the Mahara ePortfolio
system is that it is a learner-centred tool. Mahara is an open source
ePortfolio, weblog, resumé builder and social networking system,
connecting users and creating online learner communities. Mahara is
designed to provide users with the tools to demonstrate their life-long
learning, skills and development over time to selected audiences.
Mahara means 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Māori. The software is
provided freely as Open Source (under the GNU General Public License).
Because it is open source software, other organisations are welcome to
contribute to the software’s evolution. The system is modular in design to
maximise flexibility and extensibility.
Overview
With Mahara, you control which items and what information within your
portfolio other users see. Such items and information are termed
Artefacts. To facilitate this access control, all Artefacts you wish to show to
other users need to be arranged into one area. In Mahara this compilation
of selected Artefacts is called a View. You can have as many Views as you
like, each with a different collection of Artefacts, and intended purpose
and audience. Your audience, or the people you wish to give access to
your View, can be added as individuals or as a member of a Group. It can
even be made publicly available.
For example you could create a View for your friend and family that
includes holiday photos and a personal Blog. You could create another
View for your tutor, which includes assessments and your reflective
learning journal. You could create a third View to showcase your best
pieces of work and your resumé for potential employers. In fact you can
create as many Views as you wish for work, study and leisure purposes.
Artefacts Views Groups

The above illustrates that the example Artefacts have all been associated
with one or more example Views. Example Groups have been given access
to a different mix of Views.
For an introduction to the key features of Mahara take a look at this Video on
Scivee.tv

Definitions

Some useful definitions in the context of using Mahara and related


services.

ePortfolio - An electronic portfolio is an online collection of reflections


and digital Artefacts that students and staff can use to demonstrate their
development over time to various audiences.
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My Portfolio – My Portfolio is a site powered by Mahara with specific
instances for the Schools sector and the Tertiary sector.

Artefacts – Artefacts are items and information that ePortfolio users can
create both within and outside of their portfolio. Within Mahara Artefacts
include images, documents, blogs, personal information and resumé
information.

View – Within Mahara a View is collection of any number Artefacts that


exist within a user’s portfolio.

Groups – Within Mahara Groups allow for the development of social


networking communities through the use of Forums. They can also be
used to share Views between members of a Group.

Contextual help
You will find contextual help throughout the site, wherever you see the
symbol. Click on this to open a dialogue box containing help on the
area you are currently working in. Contextual help is designed to help
guide you through Mahara so please use this feature as much as you
require.

Minimum technology requirements


Mahara requires a minimum web browser of Internet Explorer 6.0 or
higher, Firefox 1.5 or higher, Safari 2 or higher, Opera 9 or higher or any
other browser compatible with these standards.
You can determine the version of your browser software by selecting
About via the Help menu.

Registration

You must also have cookies enabled on your browser in order to use a
Mahara site. If an ePortfolio account will not be created on your behalf by
an institution associated with this site, you will need to complete the
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Registration process. Click on Register within the Login box and fill out
the form provided.
Read how to enable cookies in various web browsers

Logging in

Your login details will be the username and password you entered during
registration or as assigned by your institution or Site Administrator. Where
relevant, you will also need to select the institution with which you are
associated.

Your username may include alphanumeric characters, full stops


and @ symbols. Your username must be between 3 and 30
characters long. Usernames are not case sensitive.

Your password must be at least six characters long and contain at least
one digit and two letters. Your password may not be the same as your
username and is case sensitive.

Once you have submitted the registration form, an email will immediately
be sent to your email address. This email will contain a link which once
followed, will confirm your account and log you into the system.

If you do not receive an email confirmation message after registration,


please ensure the registration message has not been caught by your
email junk filter. Please contact the Site Administrator if you have any
problems registering

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Settings

Before you progress too far into Mahara, you may wish to explore the
settings features. The settings tab enables you to configure and determine
how you will use the site, how friends may link with you and how the
system will contact you with important information and notifications. If
applicable you can also use this to oversee your Institution membership(s)

There are four sub menus in the settings menu; Preferences,


Notifications, Activity Preferences and Institutional Membership

Preferences
Use to change your password. Please note, your password must total at
least six characters. It must contain at least one number, and at least two
letters. Passwords are case sensitive, and must be different from your
username.

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Notifications
Check this area to keep up to date with system activities and
communications from other users. Once you have read a notification you
can mark it for removal from your list. Read notifications will automatically
expire and be removed from your list after 60 days.

Activity Preferences

Set your activity preferences to determine how you receive notifications


for each activity type within Mahara. You can select from an Activity Log in
your Notifications area, an email to your primary email address each time
an activity occurs or an email digest of the last 24 hours activity to your
primary email address.

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Institution Membership
If you are a member of any institutions, they will be listed here. You may
also request membership of an institution, and if any institutions have
invited you to join, you can accept or decline the invitation.

Profile

Your Profile area stores your contact and personal information. This is the
area in Mahara where you can start to build up a picture of your interests,
achievements, aims and when you are ready to do so, share them with
other users. Always remember to think about your own personal security
before releasing contact information on a publicly available View.

Each of the Profile fields can be considered separate Artefacts which may
be independently added to a View.

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Edit profile

This allows you to include the following information about yourself. Fields
within the profile area include
Name and student ID – These fields may be locked for editing
depending on local settings of Mahara.
Preferred name - Use this if you do not wish to display your full name.
Your preferred name can be anything you like and replaces your full name
display to all users except site administrators and staff.
Introduction – You may wish to write a brief introduction about yourself.
The information you enter here will be searchable by other users
Contact information – Here you can add various contact details such as
postal address, any external Blogs you may have and website addresses.
You can also add additional email addresses using the Add Email button.
Once you have saved your Profile a message will be sent to the new email
address. This message will contain a link which once followed, will confirm
your email address is valid. This confirmation email is valid for 24 hours
only
Messaging – Include details of any Instant messaging service you may
use, such as Skype or Jabber.

General – Indicate your profession and industry where relevant

Please ensure to Save Profile before progressing

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Profile Icons

The Profile Icons area allows you to upload images to use within your Profile and Views. Your
Icons may be a picture of you or an avatar image of your choice. You may upload up to
five profile icons here, and choose one to be displayed as your default
icon at any one time. Your icons must be between 16x16 and 1024x1024
pixels in size.
Click on the Browse button to navigate to your picture then click Open.
You can enter a Title or name of your picture if you wish. Once you have
selected your picture click Upload.
If you have more than one icon loaded you can choose which picture to
make your default. Your default image will appear on your Profile page.

My Resumé
The resumé area allows you to build digital resumés or CVs which can be
tailored and shared with different audiences. It is entirely optional which of
the fields you complete and which of those you then make available
through Mahara’s View structure.

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This area is divided into two sections – one for entering general
information and one for details of your experience and qualifications.

When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click


Save

The General Information fields in My Resumé includes

Cover Letter– Use this space to introduce yourself or provide


supplementary information related to the purpose and audience with
whom you are sharing your resumé

Interests - Here you can detail personal and/or professional interests

Contact information – Your Contact Information is taken directly and


edited from where it is stored within your Profile. To add to or update your
Contact Information, click on Edit Profile. Once you have entered in the
required information, click on Edit My Résumé to return to your Résumé
area.

Personal information – These optional fields allow you to include


additional information about yourself

The experience and qualifications area includes

Employment history, Certifications, Accreditations and Awards,


Books and publications and Professional Memberships . To add
details to any of these sections, click on Add to expand to an area in which

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to add your details. After each entry remember to click Save. Entries
display in reverse chronological order.

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My Goals
The My Goals area is divided into Personal, Academic and Careers
sections. Using the HTML editor within each box you can provide
information relating to your Goals so that you may add them to a View.

When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click


Save.

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My Skills
The My Skills area is divided into Personal, Academic and Work sections.
Using the HTML editor within each box you can provide information
relating to your Goals so that you may add them to a View.

When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click


Save

Tip: Once you have prepared a resumé, you will need to add it to a View in
order to share it with other people, such as potential employers. Read how
to create a View and about resumé content types

My Portfolio

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It might be useful to consider the My Portfolio section of Mahara as your
main personal repository of resources and information. In here, you can
begin to add content to your ePortfolio, in the shape of uploaded
resources, or Artefacts, Blogs within Mahara and store them in My Files
and My Blogs.

When you decide to start sharing selected Artefacts, you can use My
Views to begin packaging them up for presentation.

My Files

The My Files area is a repository and document store for folders and files
to use within your portfolio. Both folders and files are considered Artefacts
and as such can be added to a View. You may create any number of
folders or sub folders. To view which sub-folders and files sit within a
folder, click on the folder name. Use the Home link to return to the top
level folder directory. Files and folders can be rearranged by dragging and
dropping them to other folders. A suitably named and organised filing
structure will help with the long term organisation and retrieval of your
Artefacts.

You will find that some folders are automatically created by the system
such as ‘Blogfiles’. This folder includes files that are uploaded via a Blog
posting. Deleting a file here will remove it from you Blog posting.

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Upload a file
Use the Upload File option to add an allowed file type to your repository.
When attempting to upload a file you will always see the following
Copyright notice.

In order to progress you must comply and agree to the Copyright notice
by ticking the Copyright box.

For more information on Copyright Law in New Zealand visit


http://www.copyright.org.nz

Name - You can add a title when uploading a file, otherwise it will default
to the existing file name.

Description – You may choose to give your file a description

Tags – You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara.
Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create
an index of tag classifications

Once you have added the required fields, click Upload to add the file to
your repository area. When this is completed you will see an onscreen
notification.

If you attempt to upload a file with the same name as an existing artefact
in your repository area, you will be given the option of overwriting the
existing file, renaming the new file or cancelling the upload process.

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Tags
Tags allow you to include a user defined classification scheme for your
Artefacts and Views. You can add individual words, or phrases. Multiple
tags can be added and must be separated by a Comma.

For example if your artefact was a Biology assignment you might add the
following tags

Biology, Assignment, Semester 1

Tip - When you next go to upload an Artefact, you can click on Show my
tags to view a list of all tags you have previously used. This can save time
if you need to frequently upload Artefacts with the same tags. Simply click
on any relevant existing tags, and they will be added to your new Artefact.

Over time your tags list will develop into a comprehensive list of keywords
for your Artefacts and will aid the search process.

Create a Folder
Use the Create Folder option to add new Folders and sub folders to your
file repository area. When you start to create a new Folder you will see the
following fields:

Name – The name you wish to give your folder or sub folder. This may be
changed at any time using the Edit button

Description - You may choose to give your folder a description


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Tags - You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara.
Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create
an index of tag classifications

Folders and sub folders can be moved around by dragging and dropping
them to a new location in your file structure.

My Blogs
A web log or Blog is a journal-like too that allows you to record your
thoughts and experiences. By adding your Blog to a View you can allow
others users to place feedback and comments, allowing you to create a
dialogue with your audience

Creating a Blog is a two stage process. First a Blog must be created and
given a title and description. Then, you can add Blog posts to your Blog.
Think of the first stage as rather like creating a wrapper or container in
which you can begin to add your creative writing, reflective thoughts and
comments through Blog posts.

Create a Blog
Use Add Blog to create a new Blog. Give it a suitable title and description.
Select Create Blog.

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The Blog title will appear in a list under My Blogs, along with any other
Blogs you have already created

Add a Blog post


Click on Blog title and select Add Post. If it is a new Blog there will also be
a message that says ‘No posts yet. Add one’.

Give your Blog post a title and in the HTML text editor, add your thoughts!

You can add Tags to Blogs and Blog posts you create within Mahara. Tags
allow you to add descriptive labels to Blogs and create an index of tag
classifications. Add words or phrases separated by commas. So for this
example, the following tags have been added

eLearning, Staff development, pedagogy

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Tip - When you next go to add a Blog post, you can click on Show my
tags to view a list of all tags you have previously used. This can save time
if you need to frequently upload Artefacts with the same tags. Simply click
on any relevant existing tags, and they will be added to your new Artefact.

Over time your tags list will develop into a comprehensive list of keywords
for your Artefacts and will aid the search process.

Save as draft

If you would like to come back to your Blog posting at a later time to add
or modify it, you can hold off from publishing it by saving it as a Draft by
ticking the This post is a draft checkbox

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Save post

When you have completed your posting and you are happy with it, select
Save Post

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If the Blog post has been marked as Draft, it will appear as Draft and can
be published later.

If the Blog post has not been marked as draft, it will appear as Published.
In both cases the full Blog post will be displayed, along with its title and
date and time of which it was posted. The parent title of the Blog to which
it belongs is indicated in bolder type at the top of the screen.

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Note: Saving and publishing your post means that it is saved and stored in
My Blogs area. It does not mean that other users can yet read it. Until you
decide to make it available by adding it to a View and assigning access
rights, nobody else will be able to see or comment on it.

Whilst a Blog itself is considered an Artefact, so are any individual Blog


postings you create. This means that both Blogs and individual Blog posts
can be added to a View. Remember that until you add it to a View, your
Blog remains visible only to you.

Upload a File
You may upload or attach files to a Blog posting. Files added to a Blog
posting are automatically stored within your file repository area in a folder
called ‘Blogfiles’ and contribute to your file storage quota.

When attempting to upload a file you will always see the following
Copyright notice.

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In order to progress you must comply and agree to the Copyright notice
by ticking the Copyright box. For more information on Copyright law in
New Zealand visit http://www.copyright.org.nz

Browse your desktop in the usual way to find a file or image to upload.
When attempting to upload a file you will see the following fields:
Name - You can add a title when uploading a file, otherwise it will default
to the existing file name.

Description – You may choose to give your file a description

Tags – You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara.
Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create
an index of tag classifications.

Once you have filled in the required fields, click Upload to complete the
add file process. You will see a confirmation message and details of the
attached file.

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Add a file from My Files
If you have already uploaded files to the My Files area, you can quickly
associate them with a Blog post. Select Browse my files to display a list of
the files uploaded to your file store.

Chose a relevant file, it is likely that you will want to link to an image or
photograph of some description, and click Attach. This will automatically
add your file to the Blog and will be displayed as an attached file.

Embed an image to a Blog post


If you attach an image to a Blog post, you can then embed it into the body
of the post. Before you do anything else, position your cursor at the place
in your Blog post where you would like the image to appear. Click on the
image icon in the HTML editor (this is the one that looks like a green tree)
From the Insert Image box select the appropriate file from the drop down
box and click Insert.

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You can also embed an image as a link from another website. You can
either enter in the url of the image or drag and drop the image from the
website into the HTML editor. Please ensure you have appropriate
copyright permissions to use the image.

For best results images should be no more than 400 x 400 pixels and have
less than 5 pixels of padding on each side.

View Blog
To View your Blogs and Blog posts, go to My Blogs, for a list of Blogs. Click
on a Blog title for a list of Blog posts associated with that Blog

The two stage process of creating a Blog and then adding Blog posts will
result in a Blog which is still only visible to you, the owner. To enable
people to read your Blogs requires a further step - add part or all of it to a
View (See My Views > Content Types > Blogs)

Blog comments
When reading another person’s Blog, via a View, you may be able to
submit comments on their posts. To comment on another user’s Blog,
open the applicable View, click on the Blog’s name or title and select the
Place Feedback option at the bottom of the screen. Currently this will only
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work if a user has chosen to display Recent Blog Posts in their View. This
displays a list up to a maximum of 10 most recent posts, by title.

Other users with access rights to the View can click on a title and submit
Public or Private Blog Comments (Feedback). Public Feedback may be
seen by other users who have access to the View. Private Feedback is only
visible to the View owner. A View owner may choose to make your public
feedback private, but not vice versa.

Tip: To edit your Blog description, view the Blog list in My Blogs, click on
the title and select Settings. You can now amend the title or description of
your Blog.

My Views
A View is a collection of Artefacts, encompassing selected files, resumé
details and Blogs of your choice. A view can be kept private or shared with
any number of Groups or individuals as you wish. You may create as many
different Views as you like and reuse your Artefacts, even giving them
different titles for different audiences. Views can also be used to submit
work for feedback or assessment to a Controlled Group.

Click on the images to see sample Views

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Create a View
Create View launches a 3 step process by which you can create a
collection of your Artefacts as a View. Prior to creating a View, you will find
it easier to have uploaded a sample of different Artefacts with which to
experiment when designing your first layout.

Create View Step One: Details

Create View step 1: Details involves assigning your View a Title,


Description and assigning any relevant tags.
The Description you add in the HTML editor will appear in the finished
version of your View, so you may wish to change your font to match the
colour and size in your local Mahara installation.

Depending on the audience for your View and level of formality required
you can change the Name display format
When you have finished the description, click Next to progress to Create
View Step Two

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Create View Step Two: Layout
Create View Step Two: Layout involves the design and layout of your View. This
is managed by choosing from a menu of different content types and dragging
and dropping selected ‘blocks’ into your layout area.
To add a block, choose the relevant content type from the menu and select by
clicking and holding your mouse button or pointer down. Drag the block into the
grey line into your View layout
Note if you are using Internet Explorer 6, Drag and Drop will not be enabled.
Instead you can arrange your Blocks by clicking and adding to your layout area.

When adding information to any of these blocks remember to


Click Save

Supported file types


Mahara allows for a wide range of file types to be uploaded and be stored
as Artefacts and added to Mahara Views.
Supported file types are

Content Types
In order to make full use of Artefacts that you have uploaded to Mahara’s file
store area and any Blog posts or Resumé information, you will need to start
adding them to Views. When you begin to create a View you will be presented
with six different menu tabs containing various ‘blocks’ with which information
can be dragged into and arranged in your View.

Content Types: Blogs

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This section allows you to add various aspects of any Blogs which you
have created within Mahara.
Note: For adding externally hosted Blogs, see Content Types: External
Feeds

You can display your Mahara Blogs in three main ways:

Display your entire Blog – this will display the whole of your Blog. This
is okay if you only have a small number of Blog Posts, but can look
unwieldy on the page if there are a lot.

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Display a single Blog post – Display one Blog post within your View.

Display recent Blog posts – This will display the last 10 Blog posts,
with titles as hyperlinks to the full text. This is a useful option if you have
a regularly updated Blog; as you update it, your readers will see the most
recent 10 Blog posts updated when they next access your View.

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Tip: if you have two or three Blog posts within a Blog which you would
like to include in a View but do not wish to post the entire Blog, try
adding an individual ‘Display one Blog post’ for each post you would like
to include. Blog posts can also be reused in several Views and given
different titles for different audiences.

Content Types: External Feeds


External feeds allow you to link in content from other websites by
including an RSS or ATOM Feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication
and is characteristic of the trend towards push rather than pull
technology of the Web, so that information comes to you rather than you
having to actively seek it out.
In essence this means that new content from your favourite or frequently
used websites, be it leisure, subject specific or news sites, can be
aggregated and brought to you in one convenient place. In this case,
packaged up in a Mahara View!

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You could quite easily create a View to act as something of a feed Reader,
adding numerous blocks to include feeds from your frequently visited
sites. Equally you could integrate a relevant feed into a wider subject
specific View.

Another scenario in which it might be useful is if you have an existing


Blog which you have hosted elsewhere on the web. Rather than starting
afresh with Mahara’s in built Blog, you can link the RSS feed of your
existing Blog to a View in Mahara. Of course, you may wish to create a
new Blog within Mahara which is focused on your use of ePortfolios in
your institution too, there is room for both.

To add a valid feed, first check the site which you would like to link to and
look to see if they provide an RSS feed (not all sites do!)
Copy the feed address, and paste it into an External feed block in
Mahara. Check the tick box if you want to show feed items in full, or
leave blank to show 10 most recent titles.

Watch short screen demo of adding an RSS feed to Mahara

Content Types: Files, Images and Video


Files, Images and Video allows a wide range of media to be added to
Mahara and presented viewer.

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Files, Images and Video can be displayed in a number of ways in Mahara:

External Video – Unlike the other content types in this section, External
Video allows you to embed and directly link to externally hosted videos
and requires no uploading to the Mahara file store area. The supported
video hosting sites are:
YouTube
Google Video
Teacher Tube
Scivee

File(s) to Download – Select Files for people to download from your


View
A Folder – Provide the contents of one of your folders from the file store
area
An Image – Embed a single image from your folder
Embedded Media – Embed multimedia objects, for example, a video
file. This can be used as an alternative, or in addition, to linking to
externally hosted videos

Content Types: General


This field contains one Block:

Text Box – This has a number of versatile uses. It can be used to simply
include some extra text or information that doesn’t readily fit into any of
the other content types’ Blocks. It can also be used to include html and
sometimes embed html objects from other sites.

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Tip: if you have html experience, try experimenting with adding your own
content or source code from other sites

Content Types: Profile


You can choose elements of your Profile to display in a View. This
information is taken directly from your Edit Profile area. You can include
the following blocks:

Contact Information – Include one or more elements of your Contact


Information

Profile Information – Include one or more elements of your Profile


Information

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Content Types: Resumé
The options for including your Resumé to a View include:

Your Entire Resumé – A quick way to display your entire Resumé

One Resumé Field – Display any Resumé field

Tip: if you wish to create a View with the main purpose of sharing and
possibly printing a Resumé, add Your Entire Resumé block and set the
View layout to be one column width. This will provide a simple and clear
layout for your Resumé. This can be either printed out to share with
employers, or access can be granted for them to view online.

Create View Step Three: Access


Once you have designed a layout and added content to your View, which
you are happy to share, the next stage is to assign access rights. This
stage is optional though, and it may be that you wish to simply save your
work and assign access at a later stage. In which case you can save your
work and it will default to being visible only to you.

There are several types of access which can be assigned to a View:

Add Public
This allows you to make a View publicly available via a url. Your View can
then be shared with anybody you wish by giving them the url of your View.

Add Logged in users


This allows you to make a View available to all logged in users of Mahara.
This will provide access to your View to anybody who has a login for
Mahara
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Add Friends
This allows you to make a View available to all in your Friends list. New
friends by default will have access to your View.

Add individual users


This allows you to assign access to individual users of Mahara. These need
not be existing Friends.

Add Groups
This allows you to associate your View with a Mahara Group and its
members.

Tip: Assigning access rights to your View is unrelated to the


process of submitting and releasing Views in Controlled
Membership Groups. Read more about Controlled Membership.

You can add combinations of the above and further refine access rights by
assigning start and end dates for specific people or Groups. For example,
you could give access rights to a tutor for the duration of a project or
assignment and also give access to people in your friends list for the
duration of the term.

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Assign access to a View
To assign access to a View, select type and click Add, for example Add

Public

Add public will now appear in the right hand pane.

Also bear in mind that people in your friends list do not automatically have
rights to see a View you have created. Treat each View you create as a
separate collection of work and consider the audience with whom you
wish to share it and assign access rights accordingly each time.

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My Views summary
Once you have created some Views, select My Views which displays an
alphabetical list of all the Views you have created.

Each View will have a summary pane containing the following information:

View Title – whichever title you assigned to your View

Edit View details – This function is equivalent to Create View Step One
and allows you to change the View Title, View Description, Tags and name
display format of your View.

Artefacts – This lists any Artefacts contained in your view. Artefacts are
taken to be any files that have been uploaded and added to the View and
any Resumé details or Blog posts included in the View. It will not list
details of any external videos or RSS feeds which have been included.

Edit View Access – This function is equivalent to Create View Step Three
and allows you to add, modify or remove View access and any dates to
any of your Groups, and any individuals of your choice

Edit this View – This function is equivalent to Create View Step Two and
allows you to change the layout of your View and add or remove extra
content blocks.

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Edit a View
If you have created a View and wish to go back to make changes to it,
select My Views and choose Edit this View.

Remember to click Done to save any edits you make to a View

Edit View Access


You may have created a View which you want to change access rights for
and add new colleagues, students, Groups or even make your View
publicly available on the Web

Search for Views


To look at other users’ Views you will need to check the profiles of existing
Friends or other users of Mahara. Remember that you can only see a View
if the owner has granted you access or if the View is publicly available.

To search your Friends’ profiles choose My Friends and click on a name to


View their profile.

This will include a list of any Views that you have access rights to; if you
do not have access rights you will see the statement

Views: None that you can see :(

To look at a View, click on the title to expand.

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You can get an overview of all of your Friends’ Views by clicking on My
Friends. This will display an alphabetical list of your Friends and an
associated list of all of their Views to which you have access

To search other users who are not Friends, choose Find Friends and click
on a name to View their profile.

This will include a list of any Views that you have access rights to; if you
do not have access rights you will see the statement

Views: None that you can see :(

To look at a View, click on the title to expand.

View Feedback panel


At the bottom of each View, to which you have been assigned access,
there is a menu of options with which you can interact with a specific
View. The options are

• Place feedback
• Report objectionable material
• Print
• Add View to watchlist

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Place Feedback
Click on the Place feedback link at the bottom of a View to post a
comment for the View owner

Shouldn’t that be I think


therefore I Cam?

You have the option to make any feedback private or making it public by
checking the Make public box. This will make any feedback visible to all
people with access to the View. To submit, select Place feedback and a
message will be sent to the View owner

Tip – A View owner can opt to change any public feedback that has been
placed to private.

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Report objectionable material
Should you find material in a View that you consider offensive, there is a
mechanism in place to flag this. Select Report objectionable material at
the bottom of the View and include a reason why you are raising it. Select
Notify site administrator and a message will be sent to the relevant
administrator(s)

Print a View
To print out a View, simply click the Print link at the bottom of the View.
This can be useful if you require a printed document of yours or a
students’ View.

Add View to watchlist


To keep up to date with changes to Views of which you have access, rather
than having to visit and revisit the View, select Add View to watchlist at

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the bottom of the View to receive notifications via Mahara each time the
View is amended.

Should you wish to remove this from your watchlist, go back to the
relevant View (see Search for Views for how to do this) and click Remove
View from watchlist.

Note: these activities can also all be carried out with Views that you have
created, although you are unlikely to report your own View as
objectionable material! You may however, wish to place your own
feedback in response to any that you receive.

Groups

Groups enable users to develop online communities based around shared


interests and groupings such as courses, subjects, year groups or leisure
interests. By creating Groups, you can begin to develop and support
learning and social activity in a social networking environment.

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My Groups
My Groups displays any groups which you have joined or are a member of.

This display can be filtered by choosing an option from the drop down box

• All My Groups
• Groups I Own
• Groups I’m In
• Groups I’m invited to
• Groups I Want To Join

If this is your first visit, or you have not joined or created any Groups, you
will see a message on this page that says Try searching for groups to
join! By clicking on the hyperlink in the text, Mahara will take you to the
Find Groups page.

If you have joined or created a Group, a summary of each one will be


listed in My Groups. Each summary will list the title, any description of the
group, the owner and members.

If it is a Group that you have created you will see the option to edit or
delete the Group

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If it is a Group that you do not own, but have joined you will see a
message saying that ‘You are a member of this group’ and will have an
option to ‘Leave this group’

Group Types
It is useful here to remember the three different user types within Mahara;
members, staff and administrators. All three can create Groups, though
there are some different user permissions to explain. There are four types
of Group which can be created;

• Invite Only
• Request Membership
• Open Membership
• Controlled Group
The first three groups can be created by any user of Mahara. The fourth
type, Controlled Membership can only be created by users assigned staff
or administrator roles.

Group types: Invite Only


Invite Only Groups can be created by all users. Other people can only be
added to the Group by responding to an invitation sent out by you to join.

To invite other users to join your Group, navigate to My Friends, or Find


friends (potential group members do not have to already be in your
friends list to join

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Select a person to invite; in Find Friends do this by browsing the
alphabetical list or typing in a name in the search box or in My Friends
select a user from the alphabetical list.

Group types: Request Membership


Request Membership Groups can be created by all users. Other people can
join by searching for your Group under Find Groups. The Group can be
previewed by clicking on its title. Join the Group by clicking on Join this
group either in the Find Groups list or whilst in the preview mode. A
membership request will come to you for approval or rejection

Group types: Open Membership


Open Membership Groups can be created by all users.

Group types: Controlled Membership


Controlled Membership Groups can only be created by users with Staff or
Administrator permissions. As group owner you are able to add users to
your Group.

Create a Group
To create a Group, go to My Groups and click the Create Group button.
Give your Group a name and an optional description using the html editor.

From the drop down Group Membership Type box select the type of
membership access you wish to assign and how other users can join your
Group.

Tip: remember to check that you have selected the correct group type.
The default group will be Open Membership.

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Click Save and you will be directed back to your My Groups page. The
Group summary will now be displayed in alphabetical order with any other
groups you have created. At the top of the page will be a confirmation
message that your group has been created successfully.

Add a Forum
An important and useful part of joining a Group is being able to
communicate with other members. That is equally applicable to Groups in
Mahara. Once you have created a Group

Add a Topic

Add users

Find Groups
Find Groups can be used to search for Groups to join. You can join Groups
that have been set up as Open Membership and you can request to join
Groups that have been set up as Request Membership.

Find Groups can be filtered by applying from the drop down menu

• Groups I’m not in


• Groups I’m in

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• All groups

Join a Group
The way in which you can join a Group will be determined by the Group
type. If the Group is Open membership, click on the Join this group
button. No further action is required from you; you are automatically
added

If the Group is Request Membership click on the request to join this


group button and the request will be sent to the Group owner for approval
or rejection. You will receive notification of this decision.

Invite Only Groups will require an invite from the Group owner which you
can respond to by accepting or declining the invite.

Controlled Membership Groups, which can only be created by Mahara


users with staff permissions, require no action by participants to join; you
will be added by the person who has created that Group, somebody with
staff or administrator permissions in Mahara.

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My Friends
You can view a list of your existing friends in the Groups menu button by
clicking on My Friends. The list will be displayed alphabetically and a
summary panel will display,

• Username
• Profile icon
• The option to message (if the user has enabled messaging)
• The option to remove the user from your friends list
• Any Views which you have access rights for

Find Friends
You can search for new friends in the Groups menu button by clicking on
Find Friends. The list will be displayed alphabetically and a summary panel
will display,

• Username
• Profile Icon
• An Introduction if the user has added it
• Send Friend Request! button if the user has set their
preferences to new friends require authorisation
• Add to friends button if the user has set their preferences to
New friends are automatically authorised

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Tip: You may wish to advise younger or inexperienced users of social
networking systems about safe practice when making contact with people
online. It is advisable to keep user settings so that new friends require
authorisation and only friends may send messages. However, this needs
to be balanced out with the ethos of Mahara as a user centred
environment and the implied freedom this entails. Netsafe is a useful
starting point for advice on using the Internet safely

Search Mahara users


Search for other Mahara users with similar interests to you, using the
Search Users box in the top right of your screen

Mahara can be configured to search various user fields. By default this will
usually search for text added to the Introduction field in the Edit Profile
area. Extra fields can be made public, such as preferred name, Occupation
and Industry. As well as making the content of these fields searchable,
they will also be available for all logged in users to search upon and view
within another user’s public profile area.

Tip: to enable other users to search and link with you on Mahara you may
wish to include in your Introduction field details such as; place of
study/work, subjects, research interests, hobbies or any other information
that you would like to share.

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Search My Portfolio
Search My Portoflio enables you to search and retrieve information in your
own portfolio. Results are retrieved according to tags which you have
assigned to artefacts within your portfolio. This search box only becomes
visible when you click on the My Portfolio menu Button.

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